BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — Good news on the funding of education came from the state legislature this year, but at the federal level, the news has not been good.
While the Utah Legislature passed a 2 percent increase in the amount given to districts for each student, sequestration at the federal level may cause a reduction in funding for special education and Title I programs.
“Special education may face cuts to a tune of as much as $800,000,” said Chris Williams, community relations director for Davis School District, in an email.
“However,” he continued, “since special education services are mandated, those services must continue.”
Money from the general fund would likely be needed to cover those cuts, said Williams.
The sequester won’t apply until the 2013-14 school year, said John Zurbuchen, federal programs director for the district, in material provided by the district.
Next year’s cuts could range from 5 to 6.9 percent, depending on the overall poverty rate in Utah compared to the poverty rate in Davis district.
“If Utah goes up and Davis goes up, then we could receive a smaller cut,” said Zurbuchen. “If the opposite is true, then our reduction could be greater.”
According to a fiscal impact statement prepared by the White House prior to March 1, when the cuts went into effect, Utah could lose funding for approximately 70 teachers, aides and staff who work with children with disabilities. It also anticipated that about 400 Utah children would lose access to early education offered in the Head Start and Early Head Start services.
Some things are still unresolved, according to Tim Leffel, finance and accounting administrator for the district.
“From what we know, Special Ed and Title I are the largest affected programs,” he said. “Other programs such as Impact Aid, Headstart and our bond interest subsidy will be affected as well. We have not heard definitively whether the school lunch program will be affected.”
Impact Aid is given to districts that have lost property tax revenue because of tax-exempt federal property, such as Hill AFB. The federal aid is also given for increased expenditures resulting from the enrollment of federally connected children, such as those whose parents are in the military.
The school district’s budget for the coming year is generally analyzed and approved each spring.